High Summer at the Roman Fort (Mastile’s Lane)


I heard the ravens calling south,

And crows and jackdaws called as loud.

They tumbled off towards the scar,

And hung on uplifts by the cliff.


I heard the promise of the clouds,

The tick of wheatear, buzz of wire,

The ceaseless flowing of the grass,

The voice of bees, the songs of breeze.


The sounds were here, were always here,

Were here when Romans piled their stones,

And here to carry off the screams

Of sacrifice to temple gods.


I heard the ravens call the rain,

I heard them call through time again.



20 Responses to “High Summer at the Roman Fort (Mastile’s Lane)”

  1. i like to watch and listen to the ravens and subsequently wonder what they are up to

    Fancy HOV Ridin’

  2. whew..lots of symbolism int he raven…and its call…nice allusion to the romans and the sacrifices as well…bet that is a pretty stilling place to visit, kinda like a battlefield and the sacred hush that falls upon them as we walk them….like your use of scar as well…

  3. lovely sense of continuity

  4. Such a soothing summer sonnet.
    And I’m impressed you can distinguish between those three types of black birds. They’re all rooks to me.
    Do people beyond the pale know what ‘scar’ means here?
    Loved it.

  5. Really wonderful capturing of the scene and then turning it all on the stability of nature regarless of who is there to witness it.>KB

  6. Beautiful flow! So peaceful and relaxing…

  7. I love a good sonnet when I read one, this is really nice. We have grackles that live in our neighbour’s yard. I love them.


  8. Haunting and elegant, Wonderful word use, allusion and symbolism. Wow! Impressive read!

  9. The sounds of nature at its best. Alive. Drowning out past sorrows. Very lovely, Gavin.

  10. Apologize for the nerd response in advance but every time I see birds
    I see dinosaurs they have to know something about
    extinct. Is anyone listening. Is anyone listening to the Dinosaur Raven?

  11. wow. just beautiful~

  12. Strong sonnet. I love the final couplet. Beautiful.

  13. I love the sounds here–and the diction makes it seem a bit ominous so that when we get to the end we can even hear the screams, but the sound that remains is the raven calling the rain

  14. I adore bird poetry– reminds me, I may need to call upon them soon. ~peace, Jason

  15. The form really amplifies the ideas of this piece. Really enjoyed this read, thanks.

  16. I like this. The sentence “They tumbled off towards the scar”, caught my eye, because I don’t know what “scar” means. I like that. I like a poem that gives me a phrase, a word or two that catches my fancy. It could be for the “lyrics”. Most often it is the MEANING that haunts me.

    Anything to do with the birds and history … catches at my imagination.




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